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#442235 07/10/12 03:29 PM
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From BTIA

ATTENTION BTIA MEMBERS WHO OPERATE HOTELS

As you may be aware, a subcommittee of the BTIA national board is currently engaged in negotiations with BTB and Government to offer a better alternative to the new tax proposal for hotels which was tabled in the Prime Minister's budget speech.

While the outcome of that effort may not be clear for several months, what is clear is that come January 1, 2013, the new tax on rooms will be raised to the rate of 12.5%. The immediate question for hoteliers is what to do about room reservations now coming in. While the CEO in the Ministry of Tourism was not able to give any solid advice on this matter, after consulting with a number of major figures in the industry it is suggested that hotels should begin from now to quote the new rate for all reservations made beginning on the night of January 1.

As for what will be done for any 2013 reservations already quoted at 9%, we cannot be certain but your BTIA negotiators will certainly push for the position that any documented reservations made at the 9% rate will be honored by the taxation authorities at that rate.

Please be aware that the above advice to quote the 12.5% rate has no official status but is simply a recommendation from your BTIA representatives. Comments from members are welcome.


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Was anyone watching Channel 7 News tonight? I came in the in the middle and could have sworn I heard the PM say that the GST for hotels was dead.

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I just read the transcript of the PM's comment on that point - Simon has it right.

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Here is the relevant portion of the transcript .....

And so while Belize soldiers on without that guarantee, there is also the matter of what are the called the conditionalities of the policy based loan.

That's a lot of big words for pieces of legislation such as the Banking and Financial Institutions Act and the conversion of the hotel tax into the GST.

Today the PM said the BFIA is going to be slightly adjusted but the change in the hotel tax is going to be scrapped completely:..

Jules Vasquez
"From the part is that we have already done our legislative part of earning a policy base loan from the IDB in terms of re-configuring the hotel tax - you passed the law."

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"We didn't pass that law."

Jules Vasquez
"You present it in the House."

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"Yes but we never pass that law - Ain't going to be done. One of the things we did pass is the BFIA; I can tell you that we are going to look again at that. There is going to be a House meeting on the 30th November, but not in any fundamental way because these were reforms and advances that needed to be made in any event - the hotel tax. The stakeholders were of the view that to switch from the hotel tax to GST would have created a great deal of problems and that the government would not have gotten the kind of revenue that is now to be had which goes to funding the BTB's marketing program and so on - would not have gotten the kind of revenue from the GST that is now being had from the hotel tax. Given that the IDB has worsened us - that's dead, dead, dead."

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I have not received any official notice from the BTB, BTIA or anyone else telling me to quote rates beginning January 1, 2013 at the 12.5% rate. I think it is important that the BTB send out a formal notice. Otherwise, if this does not happen, then we (hoteliers) will have collected an additional 3.5% tax on rooms. Many of us have numerous reservations up until as late as June, or even December of 2013. What proof will the BTB ask for? These are all questions that should be specifically addressed and presented to all hoteliers NOW so that their official instructions can be implemented.


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We talked to BTB and they didn't know anything about it. They checked into it and found out that it was in fact dead and will be releasing a statement as soon as they have something in writing from the PM's office.

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One thought though. They may have killed the GST but maybe they will increase the hotel tax to 12.5% from 9%.

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oy vey - Simon don't give them any ideas!

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I really just want some official information from someone. I think that the best way for them to do this, if they are going to, is to implement it out into the future, say January 1, 2014. Otherwise, it's going to be a bookkeeping nightmare.


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Acting on the BTIA recommendation, we adjusted our website and notified all our resellers. Some (on-line) resellers wanted to have an official notice, and then we started to dig deeper. Contacted BTB, and BTIA again and then we heard, a few months ago, that it might not happen.

We learned our lesson (again); last increase was announced to us 2 weeks after it was in effect, through a phone call from the BTB.

Gotta love Belize - I do!
Jan

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